The Big Sunscreen Law of 2012 - Men Should Know SPF Series: Part 1 of 4

Posted on Apr 19, 2015

Whether in Mexico, at the lake, or at the shirtless tailgating party, chances are you've used a lot of sunscreen before...but chances you know hardly anything about it.  Part of our mission at Fit Face is to educate guys about the stuff that goes on their porous body, so this week we're tackling sunscreen, and first up is the new law you need to know about. 

Sunscreen companies were getting a little carried away some years ago, claiming things like SPF 120 and “waterproof for your entire life and beyond”. So the FDA stepped in and decided to regulate sunscreens, including the claims that can be made and the listing of active ingredients (for your information: active ingredients are classified by the FDA as drugs that affect the structure or function of the body, and inactive ingredients are all other ingredients). To help consumers select and use sunscreens appropriately, the final regulations include these changes:

  • Manufacturers can no longer make claims that sunscreens are “waterproof" or “sweatproof”. Instead, sunscreens must now get tested to determine water and sweat resistance and can claim one of three labelings: 40 minute, 80 minute, or choose not to label any resistance. So guys, basically this says that you can no longer count on applying sunscreen in the morning and forgetting about it...needs to be continuously applied throughout the day.


  • Similarly, sunscreens can no longer claim to be “sunblocks.” Because basically steel is a sun block, and things like brick and rubber will block the sun.  But if you're skin is out in the sun then you're not blocking the sun, unless of course you're part of the Blue Man Group.


  • Sunscreen products that are not broad spectrum or that are broad spectrum with SPF values from 2 to14 will be labeled with a warning that reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”  OK, so this one's pretty much a no-brainer...only use sunscreens that are Broad Spectrum (more on that later in the series) and are SPF 15 or higher.


  • Sunscreens must include expiration dates.  Yes dude, they expire.  Throw it out and start over.


  • SPF values higher than 50 to be labeled as “SPF 50+.” (FDA does not have adequate data demonstrating that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide additional protection compared to products with SPF values of 50.)

Guys, there's LOTS more to learn about the stuff you put on your body, and we're ready to help.  Go to our website at to learn more.